FF Senator Tony Kett dies after long illness

Mon, Apr 20, 2009, 01:00

FIANNA FÁIL Senator Tony Kett, who was a close ally of former taoiseach Bertie Ahern, has died from cancer.

Senator Kett, who was born in Ballinasloe, Co Galway, was elected three times from 1997 to the Seanad on the Administrative Panel. He was a former administrator of the Central Remedial Clinic.

Aged 57, Mr Kett, who is survived by his wife Noreen, his son Jason and daughters Jennifer and Joanne, had battled against cancer for a number of years.

He took Mr Ahern’s place by co-option on Dublin City Council for the North Inner City ward in 1988 after Mr Ahern was appointed a minister. With the abolition of the dual mandate in 2004, Mr Kett did not seek re-election in 2004.

Paying tribute to Senator Kett yesterday, Mr Ahern said he had been “a decent and hardworking public representative and one of this country’s most astute political minds.

“I am also privileged to say he was one of my closest friends and I will miss him greatly,” said Mr Ahern, who first met Mr Kett in 1974 when both started work in the Mater hospital.

“Tony and I both worked in the same accounts office and with a mutual interest in sport and politics, we became very good friends,” said Mr Ahern.

Senator Kett, who worked on Mr Ahern’s first and every subsequent election campaign, was “one of my closest advisers”, said the former taoiseach.

Meanwhile, Taoiseach Brian Cowen said he was “very sorry” to learn of Senator Kett’s passing, adding that he had helped transform the Fianna Fáil Dublin Central constituency organisation into “one of this country’s most effective political campaigning units.